An ultra-light laptop that's also good for gaming? This sounds like an alien, and very exciting, concept…
It's barely bigger than a large netbook like the Asus 1101HA or Sony Vaio X, but Alienware's latest laptop is anything but a lightweight. Packed underneath its H.R Giger-inspired shell are enough electronics to make this a tiny gaming marvel.
The M11x looks exactly like a shrunken version of the desktop replacement systems the Alienware is more famous for. All hard angles and threatening front panels, decked out with more LED illuminated trim than a Brighton carpark on Saturday night.
It's the Max Power of minis, but instead of looking slightly childish it comes across as a lot more mature and confident than its 15in and 17in stablemates.
And it has every reason to be confident. The M11x is stuffed with unique features: its squashed but comfortable backlit keyboard, bullet-stopping build quality and sturdy but light construction show an attention to detail often missing in sub-£1000 thin and light notebooks.
The main feature, though, is the twin graphics processor technology. There's a low power chip for extending the battery life to around six and a half hours, and a unique GeForce GT 335M processor for rendering in games.
Modern Warfare – to go…
It's not the most powerful mobile graphics chip, but it's perfect for making framerates fly on the 1366x768 screen. There's no other 11incher that we know of that will run Modern Warfare 2 in native resolution, for example.
We've seen switchable graphics before in the MacBook Pro and Sony Vaio Z series laptops, but none have achieved the near perfect balance between performance and longevity that the M11x does.
The only catch is that you can't really use it docked with a larger monitor – the GeForce 335M soon starts to slow when trying to fill higher definition screens.
Review continues after the break…
Shame about the screen
There is one slight problem with the M11x – the screen may be a more comfortable size and resolution than the typical netbook, but it's disappointingly low dynamic range makes it look washed out and pale on the desktop.
Turning up the backlight gives games enough punch, but if you're planning on doing much photo-editing, for example, then this isn't the laptop for you.
If you're serious about games, though, you can choose this or a much bigger and pricier machine like the Novatech X70 or Asus G73. There is no in-between.
Alienware M11x review
The screen isn't perfect, but in every other way this is the laptop sore-shouldered gamers have been waiting for